French multi-instrumentalist Teddy Lasry's story is noteworthy not just in regards to the music he released, but in the ways that he approached the craft of composing and experimenting with sounds and sonics.
Always intrigued with the capabilities of instruments, their groove and their feel, it was very much his family’s influence that helped to fuel these life long affections. As a performer in a parisien cabaret, Teddy’s father Jacques would mingle with giants like Serge Gainsbourg and Charlie Chaplin (impressed by his ability to improvise, Chaplin wanted him to become his accompanist, but the pianist politely refused). Jacques and his wife (Teddy’s mother Yvonne), would later become members of the innovative experimental group Les Structures Sonores, and surround their children’s lives with sounds. Electronic music was still in its infancy and Les Structures Sonores, with their resonators that produced long, mysterious tones, were deemed ‘cosmic’. It was the era of the launching of the first Russian Sputnik and every time a radio or television station wanted music for their science fiction programs, they turned to one of their compositions. Showing a natural ability with multi instrumentalism, Teddy was rewarded with a spot in the band, allowing him to really explore unconventional methods of composition.
Following a brief stint with Ariane Mnouchkine's avant-garde Théâtre du Soleil after graduating school, Teddy joined the pioneering prog band Magma, with whom he would record three groundbreaking albums during the early 1970s (According to former member Laurent Thibault, their LP Mëkanïk ‘Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh‘ and its sound were strong influences on David Bowie during the recording of ‘Low‘ and Iggy Pop’s ‘The Idiot‘ at Hérouville). Despite the successes with these projects, Teddy was constantly searching for new ways of expressing himself through music, leading him into the beginnings of a solo career that would last the better part of three decades.
Teddy’s transition into his solo career came with contrasting fortunes, in that he was now becoming a music to image composer but with the unfortunate realisation that his eyesight was gradually worsening (due to being diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at an early age). Nonetheless, his solo career would begin in 1975, and for the rest of the decade his sound would become increasingly mired in electrified Funk-Fusion and its endless sonic possibilities. The resulting music would serve to highlight Teddy’s love affair with the possibilities found within tireless instrumentation, with the flute and particularly synthesisers becoming a mini-obession of his (he once spent a 7,000 Francs loan, which was meant to be spent on fixing his roof, on synths).
To this day Teddy continues to record and experiment with music, a passion which in many ways has never left his side, even at the age of 75. His career was one that was fuelled by innate curiosity and an intrinsic desire to discover new methods of expressionism, be it through the realms of Jazz-Funk, ambient electronics, Swing music or indeed through the medium of instrumentation itself. On this compilation, we look to encapsulate the essence of his innovative sound, and from start to finish a sense of his ingenious approach to composing structure and mood is made abundantly clear. The funk-jazz fusion style that embodied the majority of his 70s work is on full display here, with the vibrant flute driven "Los Angeles", the Miles Davis inspired "Blue Theme", the progressive and driving "Chamonix", and the deeply intricate "Krazy Kat", along with one of his finest 80s slow jams, "Funky Ghost". Two cuts off the ‘Back To Amazonia’ album are also featured (Teddy’s last album including his Prophet T8, Yamaha DX7 and Oberheim drum machines). "Raising Sun in Bali" and the title piece both emphasise an ever present passion for synthesisers. "Birds of Space", a standout track off the ’e=mc2’ album, closes the comp, and is a fitting way to end this journey.
To sit through this compilation is to listen to a musician at ease with his abilities and his eagerness, with the music taking the listener one way before building upon that anticipation and guiding it beyond the realms of reality - and into a sphere where the imagination is allowed to run free.
Pulled together in close collaboration with Teddy and his family, this collection of songs looks to introduce new listeners to his work and we are proud to present this limited and carefully remastered compilation on vinyl, including extensive liner notes.
"From the blissfully evocative meditations of ‘Raising Sun In Bali’ to the hypnotic mallet strikes of ‘Birds Of Space’, the album is compelling throughout, revealing hidden secrets with each listen. Among the most immediate of the titles are the heavy funk flex and jazz flute solos of ‘Los Angeles’, the rolling swagger and cosmic charm of ‘Krazy Kat’, and the faintly spooky but altogether jaunty atmospherics of the compilation’s title track. Elsewhere, the prog-leaning virtuosity of ‘Chamonix’ leaves an indelible mark, while the unabated jazz flute of Blue Theme’ provides yet another triumph. Last but not least, the cinematic scope of ‘Back To Amazonia’ glides like a Golden Eagle, as emotive pads and sparse percussion evoke images of morning mist rising over virgin rainforest." - JUNO DAILY```
"One of the great reissues of the year" - TOM RAVENSCROFT (BBC 6 MUSIC)
"There's literally not a duff track in sight. The more you play it the more you find yourself entranced by Lasry’s superbly subtle melodic gifts. It’s a real grower of a collection, a fine testament to a life spent crafting miniature musical masterpieces. If you like the library music end of things, you’re going to absolutely adore this album." - CAL GIBSON (BANBANTONTON)
“This fine compilation gathers together the cream of Lasry's mid-70s-to-mid-80s solo career, focusing on a mixture of Wally Badarou style jazz-funk, Balearic-minded synthesizer reggae, colourful ambient soundscapes, worldbeat workouts, fretless bass-sporting soundscapes and atmospheric late-night workouts. It's a genuinely brilliant collection all told and one that we'd highly recommend.” - JUNO